Preview Screening of Ken Burns’s New Vietnam Documentary Shows Exceptional Promise

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On the evening of September 13th, the first official screening of Ken Burns’s and Lynn Novak’s new documentary series, The Vietnam War,” took place on Pacific’s campus at the Janet Leigh Theater. The event opened with a dinner reception that took place at Anderson Hall; those in attendance then moved to the theater to sit and watch the documentary.

The documentary is presented by KVIE Vice President of Leadership Giving Kevin Smith-Fagan. KVIE is the Sacramento-headquartered division of the Public Broadcasting Service, otherwise known as PBS.

The screening and reception were attended by a great number of Pacific faculty, students, and veterans who sat down and watched the feature. The feature itself was a collage of many different clips from the overall series, displaying the many stories of veterans, as well as stunning photographs and video footage that few have seen before.

After the preview, a Q&A panel opened up to answer potential questions from the audience. The panel was handled by Kevin Smith-Fagan, war refugee Tido Thac Hoang, former U.S. Air Force captain Gene Hamner, as well as Pacific Associate Professor of History Dr. Greg Rohlf.

The questions and opinions the panel received ranged from shows of gratitude in memorializing the service of veterans, to criticism of the film for being inaccurate to the events that other veterans experienced.

Ken Burns is a documentary filmmaker who has made pictures regarding various historical topics, from the American Civil War to the Jazz Age of the 1920’s.The Vietnam War premiered on Sunday, September 19th, on PBS and is receiving critical acclaim, with some regarding it as Burns’s best film to date.

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